VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The day before Pope Francis was set to meet with a select group of cardinals to discuss reforming the governance of the Roman Curia, the pope said the signs of God’s presence in the church are peace and joy, and not necessarily a perfectly efficient, flawless operation.

“The disciples wanted efficiency, they wanted the church to go forward without any problems and this can become a temptation for the church — the church of functionalism,” he said Sept. 30 during the morning Mass in his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

A church that focuses only on functioning smoothly, being “well organized” and having “everything is in its place, but (is) without memory and without promise,” he said, “will not work out.”


“It will be the church of the battle for power, it will be the church of jealousies among the baptized and many other things that arise when there is no memory and no promise,” he said.

“The church’s vitality” doesn’t come from documents and meetings “to make plans and do things well,” the pope said, according to a report by Vatican Radio.

While those things are necessary, they are not “the sign of God’s presence,” he said.

With reference to the day’s reading from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah, the pope talked about the prophet’s vision of a day when all is set right and old men and women will be sitting peacefully outside with their canes and the streets will be filled with boys and girls playing.

The images of the elderly being content and children playing recall the peace and joy of the Lord, the pope said.

“Peace and joy, this is the atmosphere of the church,” he said.

He also emphasized the importance of respecting, caring for and honoring the young and old who really are the memory and promise of a community.

“A people who do not care for their elderly and for their children has no future,” he said. Young and old “are the future of a people.”